New Faculty: Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz

Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz

Assistant Professor, Performing & Media Arts

Academic focus:

Performance studies, illegality and citizenship, (Afro)Latinx/Latin American undocumented cultural production, critical dance studies

Current research project: 

My book project “The Alien Commons: Choreography and Performance Beyond Citizenship” focuses on undocumented, queer, indigenous adoptee, and Afro-Indigenous artistic projects within the umbrella of migrant latinidad. At the core of my research is an interest in the arrangement of movement, how and under what terms someone or some things are allowed to be free and/or restricted based on markers of difference (race, class, legal status, gender, faith, ability, and species). Understanding choreography—as more than a neutral metaphor and an arrangement of steps for dance performance—is a useful analytic to engage equity and justice concerns that cross aesthetic borders, identity categories, overlapping settler topographies, and serial colonialisms. 

Previous positions:

  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Society for the Humanities and the Department of Performing and Media Arts, Cornell University, 2020-2022

Academic background: 

  • Ph.D., Performance studies, University of California-Berkeley, 2020
  • M.A., International performance research, University of Warwick (UK), 2013
  • B.A./B.F.A., Anthropology/modern dance, University of Utah, 2008

Last book read:

“Los Zombies No Comen Verduras” (“Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies") by Jorge Lacera and Megan Lacera. My toddler loves this book because of the amazing graphics and it encourages parents to eat veggies and not the other way around!

In your own time/when not working:

When I am not working, I am learning to be an amateur birder—even choosing to live close to the Lab of Ornithology area because of this interest. I am spending a lot of time around Sapsucker Woods. A Merlin falcon moved into our neighborhood. I am trying to understand as much about them as possible. Also, Ithaca and the surrounding area offer many fantastic places to cycle and hike. I am reincorporating more cycling and hiking into my weekly routine.

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:

In fall 2022, I am most looking forward to teaching Dance in America (PMA3214/AMST3214). We will analyze, discuss, and write about dance across multiple stages and media (TikTok, Instagram, concert stages, street corners, music videos, and even virtual reality!) and how these locations are places where people repeat, define, and/or challenge markers of difference (race, class, gender, faith, and ability). In spring 2023, I am also really excited about co-teaching Hispanic Theater Production  (LSP 3010/PMA3010) with Dr. Debra Castillo. We are going to be analyzing plays about the recent migrant caravans from Central America, Haiti, Venezuela, and Mexico, and producing an end of the semester showing for the Cornell community.

What most excites you about Cornell:

The thing that most excites me about Cornell is the collaborative environment that exists among the students and colleagues to support each other at different levels and across disciplines. This is especially true in the Department of Performing and Media Arts where we work in diverse fields and are committed to draw links across our differences to offer rich learning experience to our amazing students.

Twitter handle/blog url:


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